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Travel is back — and that means it's time for a luggage upgrade

June 06, 2021
8 min read
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Remember stocking up on back-to-school supplies as a kid? The thrill of walking into the classroom with a new pair of shoes or backpack?

Well, that's kind of how we feel about hitting the road with new luggage now that travel is back.

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These days, the grown-up version of new school supplies for road warriors is getting a new suitcase. Whether you've been pining for an Away bag or saving your pennies to splurge on Rimowa, it's hard to deny the excitement around investing in a new piece of luggage.

We polled the TPG Women Facebook group to find out what's on peoples' wishlist as they take to the skies again, plus tips for maximizing your next purchase.

Speaking of backpacks

Backpacks aren't just for school. In fact, many road warriors swear by the hands-free (or as close to hands-free as possible) lifestyle.

"Last week, I finally got to use my new Deuter backpack I ordered Jan. 2020. Want to try to ditch the wheeled suitcase if I can." — Teresa Dubovsky

Related: Say goodbye to checked bag fees with our 7 favorite travel backpacks

"I’ve used this tiny backpack for several trips lasting up to five nights. If I travel for longer, I use a larger backpack, about the size of the smallest carry-on. I find that the more space I have, the more I (unnecessarily) bring." — Karla Coreil

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"I mostly travel with an eBags Mother Lode Jr Travel Backpack these days because it counts as a personal item, not a carry-on." — Heather Macdonald

"Looking at embracing the hand luggage only lifestyle! Both backpack and small wheely suitcase." — Julie Olum

Away is still a crowd favorite

Away luggage came onto the scene in 2015 and has been a crowd favorite ever since thanks to its trendy design and tech-friendly functionalities.

"LOVE my Away Bigger Carry-On. Great for shorter trips — can get all my items in it with a small duffel bag too. Looking to get the medium or large suitcase for longer trips." — Summer Simmons

"Another one for Away — have several of their items and never disappointed!" — Nithya Sharma

Related: Away’s Smallest Suitcase Ever Could Be Perfect for Business Travelers

"Third for Away. There are five people in my family, and we each have a BCO and a medium... plus one large for when we really need an obnoxious amount of space. Absolutely love them." — Melissa Bourgeois

"I’m #TeamCarryOn and love my Away aluminum Bigger Carry-On. Before that, a Kipling carry-on that I’ve had more than 20 years that’s still going strong!" — Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

"Love Away. I bought a set, then gave it to my husband so I could buy another color. Then they had a sale... Now I'm going to give my old old Away set to my daughter. I have the rose gold aluminum BCO and CO. Love them but they're kind of heavy." — Shari Kleckner Warren

"I got [an] Away set, Bigger Carry-On and large one when they had a big sale last year. Bigger Carry-On is well worth it. I am breaking my large in for Hawaii this week." — Criszette Santiago

However, group member Heather Macdonald shares one Away drawback: "My only issue with Away luggage is that the lining doesn’t zip out for cleaning/washing."

Related: What to do if an airline damages your luggage

Other brands to consider

Here are a few brands that come recommended by the group:

"My absolute favorite luggage is OGIO." — Chelsea Lauridsen

"I have some High Sierra luggage...and it’s my favorite. It’s so worn down but it still rolls. If it’s not broken, I’m not fixing it." — Julia Kuhn

"Look at TOBIQ. Best carry-on or checked or backpack ever. Love mine." — Mea R Harris

Related: What your luggage brand says about you

"Love my TOM BIHN pieces." — Julie MarieI

"I took advantage of the sales...and got a Paravel suitcase. I love that they are sustainable and ethical. And they're nice looking too." — Julia Tritz

"Lojel because I hate clamshells." — Crystal Hess

"The Lipault carry-on spinner is very lightweight and holds enough for a week. A few times I have had to check it unexpectedly and it still looked okay." — SD Shanti

"I use Rimowa luggage and LOVE it! My pieces are the Original Cabin S, Original Check-In M, Original Check-In L, and the Original Train Case. All in the Titanium color. I highly recommend." — Kate Klepper Cole

Related: 9 great suitcases worth the checked-bag fee

"I’ve got a Lo & Sons Rowledge and a Briggs & Riley hard side spinner in the plastic ready for their inaugural trips!" — Candice Carr

Tips for saving on your next luggage purchase

Check for credit card offers

Chase, Amex and Capital One often run targeted offers to save on luggage. Right now, I have a Chase Offer on my Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited® for 20% back on a Samsonite purchase up to $40. Check your targeted offers to see what you have.

Related: Your ultimate guide to Chase Offers

Take advantage of shopping portals

Once you've decided which merchant to go with, make sure to use a shopping portal aggregator to maximize your points earning potential.

A shopping portal aggregator collects and displays online shopping portals and their current earning rates. You can check these aggregators to find the best earnings rates for purchases on popular websites. Most shopping portal aggregators also highlight some online shopping portal promotions on their homepage.

Wait for holiday sales

Deals on luggage are a staple of holiday sales. If you can hang on a few more weeks, keep an eye out for Fourth of July sales. Not to mention, Amazon Prime Day is coming up on June 21.

Use the right card to purchase

If the bag of your dreams comes with a warranty, TPG's Katie Genter recommends using a Citi card to take advantage of its two-year warranty extension perk. The extended warranty protection offered by select credit cards effectively extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible products purchased with the card.

Related: Keep calm and carry on: Our 13 favorite travel carry-ons

Photo by Prostock-studio/Shutterstock

Featured image by Shutterstock
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023